Installing Ubuntu and Windows alongside each other is a great way to take full advantage of these two operating systems without sacrificing the compatibility of Windows, or the usability of Linux. This guide will work for previous versions of Windows and Ubuntu alike.
What you'll need:
- A pre-existing Windows 10 installation OR Windows Installation Media (Windows 10 on a USB drive or a DVD)
- Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Installation Media (Ubuntu Installation on a USB drive or a DVD)
- Time and patience
No Existing Windows Installation
This section is for if you don't have an existing Windows installation. If you already have Windows 10 installed on your computer, skip down to Existing Windows Installation. We're going to be installing Windows first, then we'll install Ubuntu.
Insert your Windows Installation media and boot from it. Most computers will do this automatically when you reboot your computer. If yours does not, you may have to configure your Boot Priority settings in your BIOS.
You should be presented with the Windows loading screen. If you are presented with "Press any key to boot from USB/CD...", press any key on your keyboard to start the booting process.
Once your installation media loads, go ahead and select your language. Click "Next", then on the next page, "Install Now".
Insert your Windows product key, then click Next. If you don't have a product key, click "I don't have a product key".
You may or may not be presented with this screen. If so, select your preference then click "Next".
If you accept the terms, check the "I accept the license terms" checkbox then click "Next".
It is very important that you click "Custom Install Windows Only (Advanced)". This will allow us to create space for Ubuntu.
1: Click "New". If your hard drive has existing partitions on it, exit the installer and back up any existing important documents, files, music, and videos you may have saved on your hard drive. Then, boot back into the installer and select each partition, then click "Delete". This will delete all data on your hard drive.
2: Enter a new partition size. Typically, you should allocate a partition about half the size of your hard drive to make room for Ubuntu. If you want 100GB, You can use "100000" which is approximately 100GB.
3. Windows will notify you that extra partitions may be made for its system files. Click "OK".
Make sure the Primary partition is selected (it should be by default), then click "Next".
Windows will now install. Your computer may restart multiple times.
Once the installation is complete, you will be greeted with this screen. Go through the setup process, and when you finish, you will be presented with the Windows Desktop.
At this point you are ready to install Ubuntu.
Existing Windows Installation
If you already have an existing windows installation, you may need to allocate space for Ubuntu.
Open the Windows Start Menu, type "partition", and click "Create and format hard disk partitions".
You may have multiple partitions on your main hard drive where Windows is installed. Click the partition labeled "C:", right click it, then click "Shrink Volume...".
You are going to shrink your main Windows partition to make room for Ubuntu. You are going to want at least 15GB of space for Ubuntu. The number you input will vary on how much you can shrink your existing installation partition, and how much space you want for Ubuntu.
When the process finishes, you should have unallocated space on your hard drive. You are now ready to install Ubuntu.
Insert your installation media then reboot your computer. Most computers will do this automatically boot from the installation media. If yours does not, you may have to configure your Boot Priority settings in your BIOS.
Once your Ubuntu installation media is loaded, you will be presented with this screen. Click "Install Ubuntu".
Tick the corresponding check boxes to your preferences, then click "Continue".
It is very important you select "Something Else". We Don't want to select "Install Ubuntu alongside Windows 10", as when Windows updates it may interfere with the Ubuntu installation. Click "Something else", then click "Continue".
Click "free space" then click on the plus icon on the bottom left.
For simplicity's sake, we're going to make one root partition that fills up the existing empty space. If you'd like, you can create other partitions to your preference.
We're going to leave all options default, except for Mount point. In the drop down menu, select "/". Then click "OK".
Once you're back at this screen, ensure the bootloader installation is set on the correct hard drive. Click "Install Now".
Ubuntu may warn you about not having a swap partition. For most people, this doesn't apply. It may increase performance in certain situations only if you have a large amount of RAM (8GB+). It's safe to click "Continue".
Ensure you've completed the steps correctly, then click "Continue".
The installer will now ask you questions based on your preference. Complete each setup screen.
Once you have completed the setup screens, Ubuntu will continue installing. This may take anywhere from a few minutes to multiple hours, depending on your hardware and internet speed.
Once the installation is completed, Ubuntu will notify you. Remove your installation media then reboot your computer.
You will be presented with the GRUB boot loader that presents your Ubuntu installation and your Windows installation. You can navigate this list by pressing the arrow keys.
Congratulations, you've successfully dual booted Windows 10 and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Sohail Ahmed on April 03, 2018:
Wow, just amazing. I have lost my data last time while installing. But today after research I come to know the correct solution. Thank you very much. Bravo
Patrick B Texas on August 01, 2017:
Nico, you did a fantastic job on this. As one poster said it's the best I've seen, personally, on this topic. I tried to dual boot before and had trouble. The process took a few hours but ran pretty much in the background.
I will say that I can understand how other comments had trouble because it would be easy to get into trouble, particularly when you're partitioning the disk initially. Lesson learned - I assumed I needed to partition in the first stage for both Windows and Ubuntu. Not so. When starting over, delete all the partitions as instructed to where you only have one with the entire disk as available space. Then assign whatever you want for the windows partition, as indicated it will create several other partitions and leave the rest in unassigned. Then proceed, don't assign anything for Ubuntu yet - you'll do that within windows.
Also, Nico mentions in the Ubuntu installation part to be sure that the "Device for boot loader installation" is assigned to the partition with the available space - I just want to emphasize you must not be looking at the checkboxes. Ensure that the correct partition is showed in the field at the bottom of the screen. Finally, be mindful not to accidentally delete or modify the Windows boot partition.
Anyway it was the well written article that this is that finally taught me what was going on. Nice job!
JP on December 01, 2016:
I tried many other recommendations, but following these steps exactly finally got the boot menu to show up rather than just booting straight into windows 10. Thanks!
RP on November 29, 2016:
Sir i 1st install windows 10 into my system after few days the ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS in it. During the installation process the GRUB was failed to install. Then i searched for the solution and some code i get to know from net which repairs my boot error. But now my ubuntu has became the default OS as the PC starts. It does not ask which OS i want during the starting of the PC . So please help me with this
sothy on September 23, 2016:
I tried same way. Nothing was there to show grub. It automatically goes into windwo 10. There is no grub avaialble. what can I do to see grub with window and Ubutun option?
mohit on August 13, 2016:
my installation type doesn't show free space it's shows unusable space after shrinking C and it unable to click on plus icon..plz help
ChrisW on July 02, 2016:
Can one install Ubuntu on drive other than C.